INEM helicopter
INEM helicopters cannot assure full 24/ 7 service for start of 2024

Emergency medical helicopters at risk of paralysis through December

Pilots ‘working to rule’ reach limits of statutory flying time

The four INEM medical rescue helicopters based in the Algarve (Loulé), Macedo de Cavaleiros, Viseu and Évora are at risk of paralysis this month because a large part of the 32 pilots employed by Spanish concession holder Avincis are reaching the maximum annual limit of hours in which they can fly.

Say reports this morning, “the situation is dramatic. As of today six (of the 32 pilots) have to stop flying which puts at risk the safety of populations” (bearing in mind the pilots have been an integral part of flight rosters).

SPAC, the syndicate of civil aviation pilots, explains that “after exceeding 1,500 hours of work, medical emergency pilots are prohibited by law to fly, for safety reasons, and run the risk of very serious fines if they do not comply with the law”.

Pilots’ issues with Avincis Aviation Portugal, a Spanish company running helicopter transport for INEM, have been ongoing for some time now: the main issue not being salaries so much, as the lack of personnel, and large amount of overtime forced upon them. ND

Source material: Correio da Manhã